India v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Bangalore, 5th day

Ultra-defensive Indians

On the ball with S Rajesh and Arun Gopalakrishnan

March 28, 2005

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When play started on the final day, a draw seemed the most likely result, but Pakistan gradually tightened the screw after Virender Sehwag was dismissed. Till Sehwag was around, India were scoring at 3.67 runs per over; after he was dismissed, the rate dropped to 1.91. Exceptional bowling, poor batting, or a combination of both?

As the graphic below shows, the Indian batsmen went into a shell after Sehwag left - the good-length balls were treated with utmost caution, but surprisingly, none of the batsmen attempted to ease the pressure by scoring off the loose balls. In the entire innings, the 79 full-length deliveries went for just 45 runs, while 47 were scored off 114 short balls. In the 98 balls that Sachin Tendulkar played, he got 12 full deliveries and 23 short ones, and scored on 10 from those 35 balls; for Dravid, the figures were seven from 21. Sehwag, meanwhile, relished the good-length balls, and was more cautious only against the short stuff, mostly off Mohammad Sami.

Pakistan's bowlers, on the other hand, responded superbly to the challenge of bowling to India's star-studded batting line-up. With the exception of Abdul Razzaq, for all the bowlers the potential-wicket-taking-delivery factor was greater than 20% - that is, on an average, once every five balls they bowled a delivery which could have fetched them a wicket. After Sehwag's run-out, they needed to convert only nine such deliveries into wickets, which they duly did.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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